The Random Ramblings of a Software Developer

Vitor Machado's blog about computer stuff. Mostly.

Emulating the Sharp X68000 and the Roland MT-32

19 November ’17

Back then in the eighties there was this new technology called MIDI. It was the first attempt at a standard for electronic instrument synthesizers. Computers of the time, such as the Japanese Sharp X68000 usually came with some FM synthesizer such as the Yamaha YM2151, which modulates instrument sounds out of simple waveforms such as a square wave and changes its timbre by altering the frequency.

The Sharp X68000. Ain't that a beautiful piece of hardware?

Other more expensive devices however, had what’s called a wavetable. Wavetables are recordings of the actual instruments, of which many samples were taken and music was modulated by chosing the nearest ones and interpolating between them. One such device is the Roland MT-32 MIDI synthesizer, which cost almost US$700 back then in 1987 when it was released.

Are you ready to embark on an exciting adventure into emulation?!

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Why is there something instead of nothing?

16 July ’17

Fair warning: pretentious blog post!

pretentious
adjective
1. “Attempting to impress by affecting greater importance or merit than is actually possessed.”
2. “Having no factual basis.”

I’m not the first one asking this question. Quite possibly one of the oldest questions of mankind, and probably of other species out there as well. It’s by no means an easy one to answer, or even think about. What is “nothing”, anyway? If you can measure it, it’s already “something”, and not “nothing”. An empty space is “something”.

A black hole in the Space Engine universe simulator

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The perfect programming font?

22 April ’17

Ok I’ll share a secret here: I have a tendency to obsess over little details. A poet once said “it’s the little things that make the world”, and this is one of the greatest truths to me.

So let’s talk about one of these little things I can obsess about: fonts.

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Darkenizer - Dark theme generator

8 April ’17

One of these days while I was preparing a dark version of a SCSS, I noticed this process could probably be automated with decent results. So I had the idea to make darkenizer.

darkenizer screenshot

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Trying out f.lux

5 April ’17

I decided to try f.lux today. What is it you might wonder?

It’s a neat little software that adjusts the white balance of your monitor automatically according to your location and the time of the day. As such, you don’t get that harsh blue tint that keeps you awake at night (seriously, it can affect your sleep).

f.lux beta screenshot

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